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From:  Roving Reporter
Date:  Thu Sep 17, 1998  1:43 am
Subject:  Re: SW-L Digest - 15 Sep 1998 to 16 Sep 1998

Judy Kegl writes:
>Subject: Re: SW for Second Graders

>My recommendation is to teach Deaf children to read and write SW as you
>would teach hearing children to read and write English. The whole point
>of using SW is to put Deaf kids at a par with their hearing peers when it
>comes to learning literacy in their native language. SW potentially
>succeeds at this because it is "visually phonetic" and therefore children
>have a fighting chance at decoding the system.
>Now, how do we teach hearing second graders to read? First of all,
>hopefully, we have been reading to them all along, so they have a pretty
>good idea what a story is. Children do not start by learning the alphabet
>or by reading super basic beginner books. Rather, parents and later
>teachers read stories to them -- and by second grade, some of these
>stories are pretty sophisticated. Certainly, the grammar is highly
>sophisticated. The kids themselves first start to read and to write on a
>ALONG. So, why teach Deaf kids any differently? The answer,
>realistically, is that at this juncture in the development of SW
>literature, there just ain't much stuff -- really nothing that I have seen
>in ASL SW that amounts to a real story (maybe "Cinderella" comes a little
>close.) This is one reason there remains so much resistance to SW.
>Actually, there are lots of reasons for resistance to SW, but this is the
>only legitimate one.
>So, a team needs to be assembled to get cracking on rectifying this
>situation. More correctly, a good number of teams are needed. Anyway, I
>think each team should consist of: 1) a fluent reader of English
>(probably a hearing person); 2) a fluent ASL signer (preferably a native
>signer) and
>3) someone adept in SW. Why do I think a hearing person is necessary?
>Well, and I mean no offense, but putting spoken thoughts to pen is
inherent to hearing culture. You can be a fantastic storyteller in spoken
>English, but writing it takes experience. For hearing people, this is
>much of what their education has been about. On the other hand, a Deaf
>ASL storyteller does not have the experience of putting the ASL story from
>hand to ink -- where would he or she get that experience anyway? (We
>learn by doing, under the auspices of those who have done.)

I'm hard of hearing, not deaf. I feel that hard of hearing signers have
just as much right if not more to volunteer to be part of the team who
"puts thoughts to pen." I'm a writer in English. If there is a team in the
Los Angeles area that wants to start writing stories, I would be willing to
help, if the logistics can be arranged. English is my first language, and
I'm a writer by trade.
* Therese Shellabarger - *
* Shalom chaverot! *
* See Deaf Expo at *
Unless explicitly stated to the contrary, nothing here
should be regarded as representing my employer's opinions.

  Replies Author Date
363 Re: Start Your Own SW Web Site? Valerie Sutton Fri  9/18/1998

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